NxG Award 2019 Finalists Manuela & Juliana Trujillo
Member Association: Colombia
Family description: Our family has a variety of business: Newnet (FBN Colombia member) in which we provide consulting, manage and technological solutions that make our clients have optimal ICT services that deliver reliable and secure information for their businesses. Pizantex is a Colombian textile company with more than 40 years’ experience in the sale, manufacture, and distribution, of premium quality textiles. Our company consists of three divisions: textiles, end consumer products (garments & accessories), and the industrial uniforms division. La ceiba is a company in which we farm Holstein Cattle in a free-range model. Together we take good care of our land and cattle. We also implement innovations and help communities prosper.
Project Name: Madre Tierra
Year initiated: 2018
Madre Tierra offers ecological textiles, which will soon be expanded to fashion items. We use recycled cotton and polyester to create textiles. It is our dream to make the textile industry an engine of change. We believe that the industry can be constructive and is sourced through sustainable means.
Juliana is a 24-year old business manager passionate about social impact and people.
Manuela - 25 years old - studied fashion marketing and communication and has always been passionate about the environment and animal well-being.
They are both from Bogota, Colombia, and part of the 3rd generation of the Trujillo family group companies. As an intrapreneurship project for textile company Pizantex they co-developed a company called Madre Tierra which produces a line of ethically-sourced textiles that are less harmful to the environment.
How does your project provide a solution to a problem or satisfies a specific need?
We believe that climate change is a very real issue we are facing as humanity.
We know we can reduce the impact the fashion industry in Colombia has on climate change. The materials fashion is made determine around 80% of a product’s environmental impact. That is why we use textile waste as raw material, preventing it from going to landfill and incineration, which has the net benefit that we are less dependent on raw materials. In this way, we can save water, energy, CO2 emissions, and we use little to no toxic chemicals.
We are committed to these Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
How is your project innovative?
Our initiative is innovative due to 3 principal aspects:
•A brand with purpose: honestly sourced raw materials, turned into sustainably sourced textiles and products.
•Sustainable product: there is no shortage of raw materials – plastic continues to plague our planet
•Sharing environmental impact information with our B2B and B2C clients can be used as the “key differentiator” when marketing the product.
What is the most valuable mistake that you have made, and what did you learn from it?
Our most valuable mistake has been to wait for suppliers to engage us regarding the supply of the product, without being prompted several times to do so. In Colombian culture, it expected that people must be pushed to stick to agreed terms and conditions. When we started, we thought our suppliers would stick to their contractual agreements; however, after this did not happen. After a while, we noticed a huge lag in the advances expected from the supplier and we had a delay of around three months.
From this, we learned that if we want things to be done, we have to make our suppliers aware of the expected turnaround times and track our orders to ensure consistency in product supply.
How being from a family business has impacted you as a person, and which influence this has in turn had on your project?
Being part of a family business has influenced us in many ways. Some of them are:
•Getting involved in a business environment at a young age: during our school vacations, we would join our siblings and cousins at the different family companies to work for a week or two. During this time, we learned about different business areas and had some simple tasks to do.
•Learn the importance of the people in the company: from a young age, our parents talked to us about the people in our companies. They talk about their accomplishments, issues and new ideas. In this way, slowly, we learned to see people as a key value of the business environment.
•Decision-making: sometimes, business challenges were discussed in an open forum at home. When our parents had a difficult decision to make, they used to consult and discuss possible solutions with us, even if we did not have any experience or knowledge of the issues. In this way, we started to understand, in some way, the decision making process.
On the other hand, being part of FBN has let us learn from other family businesses. We have had the opportunity to talk to very experienced CEOs and the family members that will inherit these businesses, and build on our mutual experiences and understanding.